New insight into investigation of Border Patrol shooting of susp - Tucson News Now

New insight into investigation of Border Patrol shooting of suspected drug smuggler

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Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

New documents released by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department show that Border Patrol agents questioned what detectives were doing as they handled the evidence from an agent-involved shooting that left a suspected drug smuggler dead in Green Valley.

The department released more than 220 pages of interviews, statements, and evidence logs Monday evening.

Several statements say that neither the Border Patrol nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation would handle the case because the suspect was dead, leaving no one to prosecute. The sheriff’s department took over the investigation and handled it as a homicide investigation.

Different agencies, different protocol

Only one agent had fired his weapon, killing Jose Luis Arambula. The agent’s partner was there too, so both agents were separated until the Officer-Involved Shooting team could arrive. A third agent, the one who first spotted Arambula, was also involved in the investigation because he took pictures of the scene with his cell phone.

“Why are you treating me like a criminal?” he asked when questioned about the possible evidence, according to detective statements.

Other agents and a union representative asked detectives what was happening and why it was happening. One detective says he tried to explain the process, but learned from agents at the scene that they had not received any training for what happens after an officer-involved shooting. The detective highlights that the Critical Incident Team recommends this sort of training. He writes:

“None of the other Border Patrol agents seemed to understand that we were obtaining evidence and conducting a fair objective investigation. Some of the comments I heard included: We are all cops, why are you treating us like this. This is ridiculous and there is no need for this.”

Comments from union reps continued as the agents involved were questioned at the department’s Green Valley District Office. One detective writes:

“The union representatives who were at the station made comments to the effect that they could not believe we were all law enforcement officers.”

Chasing the suspect, finding his family

Agents pursued Arambula from Interstate 19 to a pecan grove on a golf course. The first agent to follow him described Arambula over radio traffic as a menace with no regard for public safety hitting speeds above 100 MPH, according to statements taken from Border Patrol agents.

Air support had been called in and a black hawk responded briefly, according to statements from agents.

Earlier reports had Arambula turning toward the pursing agents and motioning as if he had a weapon. Footprint evidence from the scene matched the scenario, according to the new documents.

Arambula, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had the pre-trial release paperwork in his pocket. Sheriff’s deputies arrested him after a similar chase a few weeks earlier.

Detectives found that the SUV he was driving, which held roughly 500 pounds of marijuana, was registered to a woman in Green Valley. The vehicle was not hers and the registration had been changed two days before the incident.

Arambula’s mother and grandfather had not heard from him in a few years, according to detectives who had to notify family about the incident.

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